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Rachel Cohen

Rachel (left) with her friend and fellow Maui Marathon training partner Eliana 
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Why I'm Doing This….
Several months ago, back in November 2001 I was questioning life. I was concerned that I was not happy and wanted to do something about it. I figured the solution was to switch jobs. I had left public school that August which was very difficult. It is a shame that all the good teachers end up leaving. (Yes, I considered myself a good teacher- one that cared.) So at that point I started my job search... I wanted to do something in the nonprofit sector. I searched and interviewed but then September 11th happened and I found myself going back to the safe route--teaching. 

I started teaching in a private school on the upper east side. But once again I found myself searching...yearning for something else. Everyone around me offered advice- I've read every job book from "Who Moved My Cheese?" to "What Color is Your Parachute?

So, my older and very wise sister, Jodi, told me to do a marathon. She said if you could run a marathon - you'll be able to do anything! What she meant was that I'd have the confidence to switch jobs. My college friend, Eliana, had been to a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society informational meeting and she reported back to me. She was so excited at the prospect of us running a marathon. 

Winter training in Rockefeller State Park - Rachel Salzman, me, Kristin Myers, and Eliana Agudelo.

Well, that was November 2001. I joined the Spring Season TNT Team and started my training in the winter! It was amazing!!! I had only been running 3 miles at the time and each week I was able to run more and for hours. 

The whole experience changed me. (and I just don't mean my waist line) I felt so good about myself. I met so many wonderful people who had such touching stories. It healed some wounds for my own family as well. My mother lost her father to Leukemia and she rarely speaks about it but this was her opportunity to remember him and talk about it. Also, my boyfriend's uncle is a survivor of non -Hodgkin's and he was thrilled that I decided to do this in his honor. 

After months of training, I finished and the NJ shore Marathon. Crossing the finish line is something that one just has to do-- it is so amazing--words do not do it justice. My family and friends stood in the rain cheering me on. I loved every minute (well, except around the 22nd mile when my hamstring started to hurt) but everything else was great!!!! That was April 28th, 2002 and I just couldn't go back to real life after that! (life without L&L S) so, I applied to be a mentor for the next season (Fall) and here I am. I am a mentor for the Maui Marathon and so far it has been terrific. I have 8 mentees and they are all doing great.

Also, I ended up getting a great job in the non-profit sector. I work for Young Citizens, Inc. It is a not-for-profit organization who work to promote service learning programs.

From May to Maui: A Training Journal by Rachel Cohen

Sunday, November 3, 2002: New York City Marathon

The marathon day started meeting the crew from Team In Training at the Mayflower Hotel. We completed some last minute carbo-loading – a bagel and a banana – and then we were on our way to the starting line in Staten Island. I had butterflies in my stomach from all of the excitement but I had a magazine to distract me and to calm my nerves. 

We arrived at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island – along with the other 30,000+ runners – and plopped into a sunny area so everyone can do their own thing for the several hours that we have to wait before the start. I go to the bathroom with Frannie and then put our bags on the UPS trucks. We want to make sure that we have dry clothes to put on at the finish line – and the UPS volunteers assure us that our bags will be waiting for us in Central Park.

Two hours fly by and we are ready to line up. Meredith pushed ahead and we are right by the start line. We see the balloons and hear the man singing the National Anthem.

Amazing! The cannon goes off at 11:15 AM and we start running over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge towards Brooklyn. At the midpoint of the bridge (Mile #1 marker), we realize that with all the excitement we end up running a 8:30 first mile. Too fast! Must slow down.

At two miles, we pass Fort Hamilton, an active army base that was once the home to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson). Mile 3 is through the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge – close to where I grew up.

At mile 4 we see the coach, Ramon and the other TNT-ers cheering us along. They have gotten up early on a Sunday and trained to Brooklyn to see all of us NYC Marathoners run. It’s great seeing them.

We continue running through Brooklyn, past sights like the Greenwood Cemetery (where Leonard Bernstein rests), the Old Stone House (the first clubhouse for the Brooklyn Dodgers), and onto Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue where the men’s and women’s course converge at mile 8. Through Bedford-Stuyvesant and into the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

At mile 10, I see my dad. He is so cute, wearing a sign around his neck that says "GO Rach!"

We hit the halfway point at the Pulaski Bridge. I ran it in 2 hours and 24 minutes. Not my fastest time but a big improvement from my first marathon in April. I feel great and know the second half is going to be fun.

The course flows into Long Island City, Queens – our third borough. And then it’s up the Queensborough/59th Street Bridge into Manhattan.

First Avenue is amazing. The screaming fans, my friends, my sister – it’s almost all too much.

I picked up the pace and started running faster, hoping to finish in 4 ½ hours. My sister Jodi jumped in at mile 18 and Peter jumped in at 96th street to pace me through the Bronx and then back into Manhattan.

They run the final 8-9 miles with me all the way to Columbus Circle – as close to the finish line as they could get. Even my friend Rachel Salzman turned from a spectator into a pacer at mile 24 to run with me to the finish line.

Wonderful friends I have. huh?

As I get closer to the finish line I realize I must pick up my speed in order to make my time goal.


My legs are cement blocks and they won't cooperate.

My net finish time is 4:48 and I did it !!!!! I ran the NYC Marathon! An amazing experience! Everyone should really do it. Like the 32,560 entrants from all 50 states and 97 countries that did it this year.

What's my next event some people have asked? I haven't decided yet- maybe Marine Corp. in Washington, DC or maybe NYC again but one thing... I will definitely be training with this team! Team In Training made all the difference to me.

Tuesday August 6:  Last day of hill workouts-yes! The weather was so beautiful - sunny but cool. We ran along the trails for about 40 minutes and did some stretching. I could have done more it was so nice outside. Wednesday August 6 Another gorgeous running day- I went to the Park after work and ran the 4 mile loop. I saw a lot of TNTers and socialized a bit. It felt terrific!

Sunday August 4: I'd like to erase this day from my memory. It was the worst running experience I've had to date. Today was the Manhattan Half Marathon. I was really excited about participating in it for many reasons--it received such a large turnout (7,000 runners), and I've been working on speed so I wanted to really push myself. Well, that lasted 3 miles. I was running less than a 10 minute mile when all of sudden--I felt sick! I somehow made it to mile 7 before exploding--after what felt like a 10 minute bathroom break I felt better. I saw some TNT runners so I tired to catch up. Well, at mile 10, bathroom issues arise and I needed to stop. I walked the next 2 miles. Then an 80 year old man passes me by with an encouraging, "come on you can do it!" So I started running. I crossed the finish with the worst time ever - 2:32. I think the heat did me in! I learned that it is very important to listen to your body and take care of it. I did see my mentees, Lisa, Jim, Danna and Kelly. And they did great all finishing with smiles. I rested in air conditioning the rest of the day.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presents a proclamation to California riders after a 3,500 mile ride across the country

Saturday July 27: I met Peter at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. We collected everyone's clean Team In Training logo t-shirt so they could wear it to the event. The runners were running over the Brooklyn Bridge to meet us (me and Peter), the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and obviously the bikers. Peter and I picked up bagels and hopped on the subway to prepare for the event. We arrived at the intersection of Court and Montague Streets to set up for the event. Jerry, one of Markowitz' staff supplied water and ice tea for the bikers and runners. Peter met the bikers on the Brooklyn Bridge waiting for the okay to ride down to be greeted by everyone. It was wonderful! Marty Markowitz, a cute short man with a Brooklyn attitude greeted Debbie Bennett, her husband Brian Bennett, and her father Teymoor Gedayloo and declared it their day! Speeches were made and there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. Kudos goes to Peter Klein for thinking up, creating, and organizing such a terrific event. The runners learned where all those much needed funds are going towards. Thanks, Peter :) You did good !

Friday July 26: I tested out my new sneakers - New Balance- and ran 9 miles today. I cooled down by walking the last mile. My goal was 10 but I didn't have it in me to persevere! Needed to get the long run in today because tomorrow I'm helping my good friend, Peter Klein. He is organizing a welcoming party/event for 3 bikers who rode from San Francisco to New York to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of their sister and daughter. To learn more about their journey go to the website ()

July 23,2002 :Tuesday morning Very early 5:30am, I met my sister, Jodi and we walked over to Central Park to participate in the Tavern on the Green Breakfast Run. It's a run organized by the NYRR's club and is considered a fun run (can not be used as one of your nine races to qualify for NYC marathon). We ran the 6.1 mile loop. The race started promptly at 6:00 AM due to the fact that 3.4 and 1.7 mile distances started 5 and 10 minutes later. I started off fast (I wanted to keep up with my sis). I ran about 2 miles when I reached the Great Big North Hill. It was hot and I was thirsty. I managed to make it to the down hill where I gained back some of the time I lost.

As I was approaching the East 72nd Street loop, I saw my favorite coach, Ramon waving and cheering me on. It was great. He said I had been running for 46 minutes and with a mile to go I would be able to achieve my goal! He ran the last mile with me, encouraging me to move my arms and helping me stay focused. I caught up to Jodi (she was walking at this point) and I see the time clock 54:44 I couldn't believe it! Was it possible? Ramon told me I could make it--break 55 minutes. I really gave it my all and crossed the finish line. Well, it wasn't my clock-- as I said there were 3 races going on. So, my time was 59:00. I still think it was pretty good. 6.1 miles and it was before 7am. We all ate breakfast outside at Tavern on the Green and chatted about missing Gabby and running. Overall, it was a great morning!

With one of my training partners Frannie Mendlow in Central Park.  We're over looking the fountain from the Bethesda Terrace 

Sunday July 7, 2002: Bronx Half Marathon Today was great!!!! I met some team members at 86th Street and Lexington Ave and walked downstairs to the 4 train to meet the rest of the team. Peter was there and we took the train to Bedford Park. All the new participants were really excited--it was their first timed race. It was almost 8 and we stood by the 10 minute per mile marker to begin the race. I started running with Vilda, Rachel and Danna. I felt really good. It was a little breezy which was terrific. Vilda and I took off and before we knew it we were at mile 10. She had to slow down a bit and told me to go ahead. I saw another TNT-er ahead so I ran to catch up. It was Jen and we ended up running the next 2 miles together. At mile 12, I took off (I wanted to finish because I really had to go to the bathroom).

Clowning Around after the Bronx Half Marathon

The last part of the race was terrific! My team was there to cheer me on and Peter ran the last bit with me. It was great. I finished with a great time (2 hours and 17 minutes) and felt great!! Peter had made rice krispie treats for the team and I helped myself to one. The best part of the day was that since I had finished I was able to cheer all the other runners. I screamed and yelled every time I saw a TNT-er. I gave Danna (one of my mentees) some extra encouragement as she was approaching the finish line. Overall, it was wonderful! We took the train home and I took a 2 hour nap - I was wiped out.

With my fellow mentor and friend Rachel Salzman

With Luke (Rick - my mentee's - son)

Friday, July 5, 20002: I woke up early to go running to avoid the heat. But 8am wasn't early enough--the sun was shining and it was hot. I went to Central Park and ran the 5 mile loop passing Columbus Circle instead of the North Hill. I felt good after the run and bumped into another TNT mentor, Kira, who had finished her workout on the reservoir. She is recovering from an injury so she is taking it easy. We walked home together and talked about other types of workouts. She is part of a deep water running class (sounds cool, huh?), a cardio-walking class in the morning and she is also a member of NYRR club for speed work. I definitely am interested in swimming. Ramon says it is a great workout especially for runners. That is one of my goals: to find a cross-training activity that I enjoy.

Thursday July 4, 2002:  So I woke up at 7am on my day off from work to go running. It was 82 degrees! Hot! I did some stuff around the apartment and left by 8. I ran the five mile loop including the north hill. It was hard to run in the heat. But I persevered. I made sure I kept hydrated by stopping at every water fountain along the path. I felt good when I finished -- definitely sweaty but felt like I really pushed myself. I went to a friend's house for a July 4th celebration. Bar-b-que yummy:) Later, I watched the fireworks on TV.

I noticed something a little disturbing in the park this morning. Police and the parks department were on patrol. It was a little eerie. I was in Central Park on September 11th when the towers were hit and the police asked us to leave and go home. I kind of had the same feeling.

Wednesday July 3, 2002: Very hot - it needs to rain! Michael and I went to Central Park and walked around the 4 miles loop. It was a nice to see everyone enjoying the city. We passed by the Delacorte Theater. It is showing Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I saw the show in London - it is terrific. The show got good reviews. Another free activity in NYC. Go: it is definitely worth it!

Tuesday July 2, 2002: Did you go outside today? It was hotter than a sauna! So I left work and wanted to go to the park and meet the team but some how I found myself going to get my toes and nails done. It was too hot and I needed some pampering. I spoke to my fellow mentors, Peter and Rachel and both said not that many participants showed up -- I guess the heat deterred more people than just me. I did some stretching when I got home but it was not the same as running.

Monday July 1, 2002: Does shopping count as exercise? I hope so because that's what I did today.

Sunday June 30, 2002: I woke up early so that I would be able to run. It was 7AM and still hot! I ran along the East River for about 40 minutes and then went home. I drank about a pitcher of water - I was parched! I took a quick shower and then headed to Neponsit to go to the beach. It was a great day!

Saturday June 29, 2002: Today's run was AWESOME!!!! I ran 10 miles in one hour and 45 minutes. I started running with one of my mentees, Kelly. We had the opportunity to catch up and she told me she had received some donations and was very excited. Then another mentee, Jim and another Maui runner, Michael ran past us. I was able to keep up with them the whole time. It was great to run fast. We took turns telling stories and the time flew by. It turns out Michael went to college with my boyfriend's twin brother -- such a small world. Hey, New York City - 8 million people and we always end up running into someone we know. I stayed afterwards and socialized with the rest of the team. My friend and another TNT Mentor, Eliana got into the NYC Marathon. She's pretty psyched! Come on -- who wouldn't be? Maybe next year for me!

Friday June 28, 2002: I needed to do some cross-training so I went to Central Park to walk. I walked for about an hour and rewarded myself with a slice of pizza :)

Thursday June 27, 2002: Morning Workout at 6:30AM. I meet everyone at East 90th. It was 81 degrees when I left the house. It was hot!!! We ran to the Great Lawn and went around that loop 4 times -- it totals 2 miles. The heat took a toll on all of us. We did some strengthening exercises and then I ran home to get ready for work.

Later...Much later...It is around midnight on Thursday. My friend left and I immediately turned on the computer to see if I got into the NYC Marathon. I entered my last name - "Cohen" - and a whole screen of Cohens appear. The word "No" was next to my name. I have to admit I was disappointed! Really bummed - I had really planned to run the NYC Marathon. I thought we (all my friends) would get in. It was definitely comforting to find out that my other running friends did not get in either. So, I made a decision. I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. I hear it's a good race and the crowds are terrific! I hope so.

Wednesday June 26, 2002: Took the day off. Rested the legs.

Tuesday June 25, 2002: I got to the park early so I warmed up with a loop of the reservoir (1.7 miles). It was nice to run alone - time to think and relax. The team showed up at 6:45 and Mike told us the workout. We went around the loop including the big hill but then cut through at 86th Street onto the reservoir -- total mileage 5 and a half miles. It was a good workout. I ran home to have dinner with a friend.

Monday June 24, 2002: Today was a hot one. I came from work and definitely wanted to stay in an air-conditioned apartment but lucky for me I have a running partner. My boyfriend Michael came home from work soon after and wanted to go running. His motivation helps a lot! We changed scenery and went to run along the East River. We ran for about 30 minutes but we only did about 2 and a half miles. It was really hot. I taught Michael the strengthening exercises that Ramon (coach) and Mike (assistant coach) had showed me. You can use a park bench to work out your quads and calf muscles. We went by Gracie Mansion but didn't see the Mayor. I added that on my list of things to do in New York--go on a tour of Gracie Mansion and it's free too!

Sunday June 23, 2002:  I wanted to get a little exercise in but not to overdo it. I went for a walk around the neighborhood and then played golf with Michael. I'm just learning so I'm not very good.  At least it's an exercise/activity we can do together.

Saturday, June 22, 2002: I woke up before my alarm went off. I was excited to run with my team (my friends). I had missed them due to a stupid injury from the week before. At work, a file cabinet fell on my foot. The doctor said I had to rest it for a week ("RICE": Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). 

So of course, I obeyed doctor's orders and did not run for a week. Needless to say I wanted to run! I met the team at Bethesda (72nd Street right by the fountain in the center of Central Park). It is one of my favorite places in New York City. All the TNT teams were there for bagels and water. It was nice to see the TNT staff and my friends - Elissa, Emily and Sue. We socialized for a bit and I spoke with my mentees about fundraising and sending out their letters to potential donors. One of my mentees, Lisa, has completed/accomplished her goal and raised $5,000. Ramon then called us over to explain our run. Since there was a race taking place in the park, We were headed to the West Side to run along the water. 

It started out to be a great run. I ran with Frannie (a fellow mentor and friend from last season) she kept me entertained with her stories about her 3 children and husband. I ran down the Hudson River path to Chambers Street but then I had to turn around. It was very hot and my body was not used to this heat. (I prefer to run in 60 degree weather vs. 90 degree). I don't now how I got back to the park (Ramon says I used my marathon training of keep going -You'll get there- And your legs just move) I made it to 72nd and Fifth Avenue and then I had to walk. I looked down at the cause of my pain and saw that my foot had swelled up. Oh well, Hey it took 9 miles for that to happen. So I went home to ice it down. Overall, it was a good run- I knew it would be hard because I had taken off so many days. I'm planning to take it easy because I 'd like to do well for the Bronx Half on July 7th.


This site is maintained by Peter Klein and is not associated with the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Team-in-Training or The Light the Night Walk other than the participation in the Society's  programs of the individuals included in this site.  
Last updated on January 07, 2004 .